Dogs are fun loving pets. They love to play games and they become even more enthusiastic if you join in with them. And playing games with your dog is fun for both of you and helps to build a stronger bond between you. Not only that, but dog games help to keep your dog’s mind and body healthy and engaged too.
Of course all dogs are different. Different breeds tend to prefer different sorts of games. And even individual dogs within a breed will have their own preferences. Try a variety of different games to see which your dog prefers.
Luckily, there are many challenging and/or puzzle games which you can play with your dog. Always remember to reward your dog after they complete a task. This helps keep them interested in the games and lets them know they’re doing the right things.
Dog games for you and your dog
Here are few of the many dog games that you can play with your dog:
Hide and seek
This is one of the oldest children’s games but it’s a great dog game too. You just need to show or make your dog sniff something you’re going to hide. The item can be a tennis ball, other toy, a treat or any other thing.
After you’ve let your dog see or sniff the item, you then need to hide it without your dog seeing you. After that tell your dog to find what you’ve hidden.
You can play this outside in the yard. Just hide some treats around the yard while your dog is inside the house, then let them out to hunt them down.
The main thing to keep in mind is that whatever you hide should be within your dog’s reach. You shouldn’t hide things too high.
Teach your dog tricks
There are many tricks that you can help your dog to learn. The most basic of all the tricks you can teach your dog is to handshake with their paw.
Another trick you can teach your dog is to learn to jump over obstacles. Just make sure the obstacles you use are safe. You don’t want to use anything made of glass or anything else that may hurt your dog. A great game is to make hurdles out of old blankets for your dog to jump over.
You can also teach your dog to hide by teaching them the “hide” or “crawl” commands. You can teach your dog to sit under a chair at this command, for example. This can be a useful command when strangers or relatives visit your house.
You can also teach your dog other useful tricks such as fetching the newspaper or mail. And another useful trick to teach them is how to put their toys back in their toy box.
Remember, patience and positivity is the key to teaching your dog tricks. Don’t become frustrated and shout at your dog. If they start to lose concentration take a break for a while. And reward them with treats when they perform well. Clicker training is a good way of quickly teaching your dog commands.
There are many water based games that you can play with your dog. In fact introducing your dog to water at an early stage is a good idea. It helps to give them confidence and teaches them not to be afraid of water as they get older.
Moreover, water games are good for your dog’s health too. Your dog exercises their joints when they undertake water-based activities. And the exercise is low impact which reduces wear and tear.
You can throw floating toys in to the water and command your dog to fetch them.
Go fetch games
Fetch games are a big favorite of dogs. Many dogs will play fetch all day long if you let them.
Just throw a disc or ball and tell your dog to fetch it. They’ll run off and bring it back to you to throw again. Of course, you might have to have a bit of a tug of war to get it off them to throw again!
If your dog likes jumping and catching, then a frisbee makes a great toy to play with. Just make sure you use one that’s designed for dogs though. You can get cloth frisbees that have padded edges to stop the dog hurting themselves.
You should keep in mind that the item that you choose for fetch games should not be chewy. You should also avoid any items that your dog may swallow by accident.
Some dogs just love playing soccer. They’ll run around with their noses pressed against the ball for what seems like forever. Just be careful you don’t kick your dog instead of the ball!
You’ve likely heard of Dad dancing, well how about dog dancing! If you like to dance to music, why not get your dog involved too? Most dogs love to jump around and dance with you. And freestyle dog dancing is actually an official, organized sport! So if you and your dog get good at it, you can even enter competitions.
If your dog loves digging, then you can build a sandbox or set aside a small area of your garden for your dog to dig in. Bury their toys or treats and then let them loose to dig them up! Make it harder for them by burying things when they’re not there.
A few safety considerations for dog games
Take care around water
You should of course always take care around water. For example, you should avoid water with strong tides and currents. You should also avoid anywhere that’s difficult for your dog to get out of the water. And if your dog doesn’t like water, you shouldn’t force them to play water-based games at all.
It’s advisable to avoid any strenuous dog games when the weather’s hot. Dog’s don’t sweat in the same way that humans do. This means they can’t cool off as well on hot days. So make sure they always have plenty of fresh water available to drink. And keep an eye out for any signs of distress such as excessive panting or a glassy-eyed look.
Give your older dog a check-up first
If your dog is older, or even if they’re just not used to exercise, you should get them checked out by your vet first. Don’t make them undergo strenuous exercise before making sure they’re fit enough for dog games.
Be careful with growing dogs
Young dogs that are growing are susceptible to damage caused by high impact exercise. So don’t make them play dog games that involve lots of running and jumping until they’ve finished their growth.
Start slow and build up stamina
You don’t want your dog to get injured so it’s best to start slow when it comes to dog games. As your dog gets fitter and more used to it you can start to make the games more energetic.
Playing dog games with your dog is great for the two of you. Your dog gets plenty of healthy physical exercise while also exercising their brain. And you get the joy of bonding with and growing closer to your dog.